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Jul 19, 2022

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Ronaldo, Moutinho and many more – Sporting’s famous youth academy turns 20 years oldronaldo wallpaper

A few kilometres east of Lisbon is a small town of around 13,000 people called Alcochete. This part of Portugal is known for its claywork, natural beauty and, in recent decades, for being a constant conveyor belt of young players that have gone on to become international stars. Founded on June 21, 2002,Sporting CP created a sports centre for their youth teams that has potentially become the most impressive facility of its kind in all of European football. And undoubtedly changed the face of football across the continent over the past 20 years.

Stats Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo Centre-Forward Sporting CP Sporting CP Season 02/03–
All competitions Games 31 Goals 5 Assists 6

Undoubtedly, the facility’s most famous son is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. Although the famedManchester United No.7 only earned the club €19 million in transfer fees when he left, he forged a path that countless others have followed. And along the way Sporting have won 14 major titles and hundreds of millions from transfer fees for the young players that they have reared.

Ronaldo, Moutinho & Co. – The most expensive homegrown players to leave Sporting 15 Tiago Ilori – 2013/14 – €7.5m &copyimago images

Joined Liverpool


14 Miguel Veloso – 2010/11 – €9m &copyimago images

Joined Genoa


13 Matheus Pereira – 2020/21 – €9.05m &copyimago images

Joined West Brom


12 João Moutinho – 2010/11 – €11m &copyTM/imago images

Joined Porto


11 Thierry Correia – 2019/20 – €12m &copyimago images

Joined Valencia


10 Hugo Viana – 2002/03 – €12.75m &copyimago images

Joined Newcastle


9 Bruma – 2013/14 – €13m &copyimago images

Joined Galatasaray


8 Rúben Semedo – 2017/18 – €14m &copyimago images

Joined Villarreal


7 William Carvalho – 2018/19 – €16m &copyimago images

Joined Real Betis


6 Rui Patrício – 2018/19 – €18m &copyimago images

Joined Wolves


5 Cristiano Ronaldo – 2003/04 – €19m &copyimago images

Joined Manchester United


4 Gelson Martins – 2018/19 – €22m &copyimago images

Joined Atletico


3 Nani – 2007/08 – €25.5m &copyGetty Images

Joined Manchester United


2 João Mário – 2016/17 – €40m &copyimago images

Joined Inter Milan


1 Nuno Mendes – 2022/23 – €45m &copyimago images

Joined PSG


Although Ronaldo is the most famous,João Mário remains the most profitable, having left the club for €40m in 2016 to join Inter Milan. Nuno Mendes, who left forParis Saint-Germain this summer for €38m may come to eclipse the former Sporting star if add-ons are eventually paid out, to take his deal with the French giants up to €45m.

Sporting CP All club youth graduates

However, Mendes is only the second most valuable former Sporting youth graduate, with current AC Milan star Rafael Leão currently valued at €70m. Unfortunately for Sporting, the left winger left after just three first team appearances and for a paltry sum of €500k. Which just goes to show that even the best youth academy in the world can’t always get it right.

Sporting CP starting XI

Ronaldo, Moutinho and many more – Sporting’s famous youth academy turns 20 years old